Restaurants offer light menus for dieters

Restaurants offer light menus for dieters

April 24th, 2011 by Staff Report in Life Entertainment

More and more area restaurants are focusing on healthy fare. Dining out is such a big part of the culture that restaurants must be responsive to customers trying to control their waistlines.

Here are a few restaurants in Chattanooga with special menu items for calorie counters.

Mount Vernon: The menu at this popular South Broad Street restaurant includes a selection of diet-friendly entrees prepared with olive oil to make them lower in fat. Among the dishes on the "lighter side" menu are: herb-grilled shrimp, seasoned grilled chicken breast and filet of mahi mahi. Off the sandwich menu, the Mount Vernon Grouper sandwich is a good choice.

Olive Garden: A trip to an Italian restaurant doesn't have to be a calorie-fest. At Olive Garden, low-fat entrees are highlighted on the menu. Seafood selections include Capellini di Mare (shrimp, clams and muscles sauteed in white wine), and Seafood Brodetto (scallops, shrimp and tilapia in marinara-saffron broth). A healthier poultry dish is Venetian Apricot Chicken, a grilled breast served in an apricot citrus sauce.

Chili's: This popular bar and grill with several local locations features a Guiltless Grill menu. For example, the regular grilled chicken sandwich can be adapted - no bacon, no cheese and a wheat bun - in Guiltless Grill mode. The lower-calorie option is served with steamed vegetables and a lower-cal honey-mustard dressing. The grilled salmon entree can be served with steamed vegetables and butterless rice for a healthier dish.

Red Lobster: Seafood, when not served with carb-packed bread, pastas and potato dishes, is often quite diet-friendly. Live Maine lobster has only 145 calories and two carbs per portion. Garlic-grilled jumbo shrimp at Red Lobster has only 142 calories and 3 grams of fat. Don't go overboard with the dipping sauces, though. Even the healthiest dish changes character when dipped in melted butter.

Panera Bread: This popular chain of bakery/sandwich cafes has been in the vanguard of the healthy eating movement - an apple instead of chips as a side order, anyone? Low-fat items on the Panera menu are highlighted. Try the wild berry smoothie. At 300 calories, it's a viable meal substitute. Healthier soups include low-fat chicken noodle and garden vegetable soup with pesto.

Source: Online menus